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Grand Rapids Pride gears up for 28th year

Grand Rapids Pride Center

National performers join a jam-packed lineup at this weekend’s Grand Rapids Pride Festival.

"Not only are we offering everything that you have at a Pride – great music and vendors and food and community – but an opportunity to bring in some national talent, and really give the people of Grand Rapids and our community a quality concert."

Larry DeShane is the operations manager for the Grand Rapids Pride Center, which organizes the event. And he says this year’s festival is bigger and better than ever.

National artists take the stage for the festival’s first-ever Concert on the Calder, featuring Glee’s Alex Newell, headliner Deborah Cox and multiple local performers.

The weekend is also the center’s largest annual source of funding. It helps provide a wide variety of community resources, as well as close to a dozen social support groups.

DeShane says there’s an added sense of unity and urgency in the air after last weekend’s massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

"It’s always important. I hate to say it’s more important now than ever, but there’s no more time left for us not to be visible. There’s no more time left for us not to stand up and celebrate our lives in unity.

"There’s no more time left for us not to get out there and just say we’re here." 

DeShane says a dollar from every ticket sold benefits the Orlando Pulse LGBTQ Nightclub victims fund.

And he adds the center is very thankful to city, county and public safety officials for their support of what’s always been and will be a safe space for all.

"They have stepped up. They are aware. And they are working with us so brilliantly to ensure every single person is safe there."

You can see a full lineup of events at GRPride.org.

Hilary is a General Assignment and Enterprise reporter for WGVU Public Media. She joined WGVU in September 2014 after several years of experience as a local news reporter, anchor and photojournalist in Midland, Saginaw and Bay counties. She's also worked as a financial and business reporter and audio field producer.
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